Final thoughts on NUJ DM 2011

It’s been nearly a month after the National Union of Journalists’ Delegate Meeting 2011 in Southport, and the memory of that weekend still lingers. The frantic running from our ‘base camp’ room, where all student delegates would report to in the morning, to the main conference room and the fringe meetings upstairs; me not figuring out how to work the camera properly during the Socialist Worker’s Party fringe meetings; being the first person to post the top ten of the most amusing #nujdm tweets (and there was a lot of them); watching Colombian journalist Claudia Duque get a standing ovation after her speech; getting involved in a bizarre cross-debate during the Stop The War fringe meeting over Libya with a veteran photographer in the audience called ‘Stalingrad’; performing a karaoke version of ‘Baby I Love You’ by The Ramones to an audience of about ten at the nearby pub to the conference centre; having about five hours sleep between Thursday and Friday; having to edit the film below in about an hour on iMovie, a program I’ve never used before; feeling sunburnt on Sunday after sitting in the sun in the front of aforementioned pub after the conference had finished, killing time waiting for my train; and, of course, pogoing to the punk covers band on Saturday night when they played (again) The Ramones’ ‘Sheena Is A Punk Rocker’ among many others, in honour of dearly departed NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear – a massive Clash fan. Reminds me of when I was in a Ramones tribute band ten years ago. Hope you’ve enjoyed my posts and Twitter coverage on this microblog. Thanks to my fellow student delegates, everyone who took part in the NUJ DM 2011, and anyone who has been reading this.



NUJ DM 2011 Documentary

Interviews and script: Susa Dickerson. Camera and editing: Dominic Simpson.

In this video Welsh delegate Neil Taylor discusses why professional photographers are still important in the 21st century; and incumbment NUJ President Peter Murray discusses his feelings about leaving his post and what he plans to do next.

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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


A round up of fringe meetings at NUJ DM

Away from the intense voting and hustle and bustle in the main hall, the fringe meetings at the NUJ’s Delegate Meeting provided a more intimate environment for discussion.


The Stop The War campaign have been present at the conference, and organised the first of these fringe meetings on Friday.

The three members – David Crouch, Peter Reilly, and Alistair Cartwright – tackled what they saw as the deeper motives for the coalition of countries involved in the so-called ‘no fly zone’ to provide aid to the rebel movement in Benghazi, east Libya.

They discussed the complicity of the UK with other repressive regimes in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the latter of which has also seen repression of public protest taking place. They also reiterated their skepticism of the UK and USA’s involvement in attacking pro-Gaddafi troops.
Humanitarian intervention

A question and answer (Q&A) session bought up the issue of whether ‘humanitarian intervention’ by the US, EU, the UN and NATO is justified. The example of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 was downplayed by Crouch, who insisted that the situation was different to the current unrest in Libya.

A journalist in the audience calling himself ‘Stalingrad’ put forward the controversial view that the rebels are as sympathetic to fascism as Gaddafi is. Meanwhile, the examples of the British in Sierra Leone and the current involvement of French troops in the unrest in Ivory Coast were provided as examples by an audience member of where Western humanitarian intervention has been beneficial.

Saturday’s Fringe Meeting, meanwhile, was chaired by the Socialist Worker’s Party (SWP), and also looked at events in North African and the Middle East, though focusing specifically on Egypt.

Subtitled “Egypt shows the way – strike together to beat the Government – TUC: now call a general strike”, a screen showed footage in Tahrir Square filmed by one of the speakers, Jess Hurd, who spoke of her experience of being in Egypt during the recent revolutionary events there. She told the audience, recalling the elation in the centre of Cairo: “They [the protestors] had lost their fear – there was something internal they had let go.”
People power

The meeting discussed the relevance of people power revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia to the UK, and the SWP’s part in the recent demonstration in London on 26 March.

As with Friday, there was a Q&A with the audience, which included David Crouch from the previous day’s meeting, who said: “You can take sides in a political conflict and still be a brilliant journalist.”

One audience member discussed the role of Wikileaks in the Egyptian revolution, and another described watching the uprising in many Arab states as “the most exciting moment in my life”. The SWP speakers ended the meeting by positing the question: “What do we do about the state?”

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Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


A history of the NUJ and the Delegate Meetings

Here’s some context for the Delegate’s Meeting taking place this weekend.


General: Liberal Party wins general election and introduces legislation enshrining legal protection to Unions

NUJ/DM: Journalists discuss forming a Union


General: ‘Banker’s Panic’ financial crisis in USA

NUJ/DM: NUJ founded at conference in Birmingham


General: London hosts the Summer Olympics and first large suffragette rally; Geiger counter invented

NUJ/DM: First Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) in Leeds


General: Sir Ernest Shackleton discovers south magnetic pole; Woolworths opens first store

NUJ/DM: Second ADM in London; NUJ has 1,217 members


General: King George I of Greece assassinated; Neils Bohr presents quantum model of the atom

NUJ/DM: NUJ opens first office in Manchester


General: First World War begins

NUM/DM: Newspapers lay off staff and enforce a 2.5p weekly levy to fund wartime unemployment pay


General: Paris bombed by German zeppelins for first time

NUJ/DM: First Scottish ADM, in Glasgow


General: USA declares war on Germany; first International Women’s Day observed in Russia

NUJ/DM: Alice Chalmers-Lawford becomes first woman delegate at ADM


General: Ernest Rutherford predicts the existence of the neutron

NUJ/DM: Chalmers-Lawford becomes first woman elected to the National Executive Council (NEC)


General: First Labour Government elected

NUJ/DM: NUJ appoints first full-time organiser, Clement Bundock


General: Second World War begins

NUJ/DM: NUJ moves headquarters from London to Herefordshire for safety from war


General: First meeting of the United Nations held in London

NUJ/DM: First ‘chapel’ in BBC and London Radio branch founded


General: J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings published

NUJ/DM: BBC formally recognises NUJ


General: The Beatles release Sgt. Pepper; 10,000 march against Vietnam war in San Francisco

NUJ/DM: Beginning of ‘chapel power’ as strike takes place at Middlesborough Gazette


General: Apollo 14 lands on moon

NUJ/DM: Refusal by ADM to register under Industrial Relations Act overturned by membership ballot


General: First scientific hand-held calculator introduced

NUJ/DM: ADM sets up first Equality Committee to help women members;

Fleet Street ‘chapels’ win pay rises


General: Labour wins two UK elections; IRA bomb Birmingham, leading to the Prevention of Terrorism Act

NUJ/DM: Bid by ‘chapel power militants’ to have NUJ General Secretary Ken Morgan sacked fails at ADM


General: Margaret Thatcher becomes Conservative Party’s first female leader

NUJ/DM: Race Relations Working Party set up to boost journalists from ethnic minorities


General: Robert Mugabe elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe

NUJ/DM: ADM, held in Northern Ireland, debates a record 382 motions


General: Gerry Adams elected leader of Sinn Féin

NUJ/DM: Merger talks between the NUJ and the National Graphical Association (NGA) fail


General: IBM unveils first laptop computer

NUJ/DM: 6,000 newspaper workers go on strike in Wapping dispute; ‘Gaddafi Telegram’ affair as ADM

reacts to bombing of Libya


General: First McDonald’s in Moscow opens; Iraq invades Kuwait, leading to the First Gulf War

NUJ/DM: NUJ financial crisis with debt of £1.5m; a third of staff made redundant


General: Republic of Yugoslavia breaks up; signature of the Maastricht Treaty

NUJ/DM: Attempt at ADM to reinstall NUJ General Secretary Steve Turner

(sacked for defying policy on print unions) fails


General: Channel Tunnel opens; Rwandan Genocide

NUJ/DM: Anita Halpin third NUJ woman President


General: ‘New Labour’, elected two years previously, implement devolution

NUJ/DM: NUJ Scottish Council set up


General: Italy win World Cup

NUJ/DM: NUJ membership passes 40,000


General: Half a million (including NUJ members) march in London against Government cuts

NUJ/DM: ADM in Southport

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Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Been following the proceedings today on Twitter at @dominic_simpson, and willl be doing so tomorrow throughout the day.

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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Uncategorized


Second round up of best tweets of Friday morning at DM meeting

Here’s some more highlights of #nujdm tweets from Friday morning at the Delegate Meeting, which I’ve been covering as social media editor.

It’s like a green Mexican wave sitting in the main hall, the hands go up and down, up and down with their green cards @NPROBINSON1

Simon Vaughn – “Director General of the BBC does not have journalists’ best interests at heart” @SAMFROMSTROUD

75% of job losses in local government to be women @GARETHDOWLING
Sobering up

I’m starting to sober up, the horror the horror @OWEBB

Peter Murray yelled at delegate for holding a debate in front row of the main hall. @NPROBINSON

Love how Pat Healy on stage did the strike movement across her neck and the technician turned the microphone back on! @JMUCKLEY

EDL. Extremely Degrading Lunatics @JMUCKLEY
Historic struggles

“Why didn’t people discuss it like adults?” – heated debate on point of order…. @SAMNEWSHAM

Donnacha DeLong cites 1936 Battle of Cable Street as an example of historical struggles against fascism in Britain @SAMFROMSTROUD

“The only real managers are accountants!” @SAMFROMSTROUD

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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Best tweets from Friday morning

Greetings from a warm Southport during the National Union of Journalist’s conference. Here is a selection of the best #nujdm tweets from the first hour of the conference.

“Whoever thought freedom of the press would depend on the internet connection in Southport Theatre & Convention Centre?” @COLLMCCOLGAN
[in response to] “Whoever thought freedom of the press would be for those who could afford it?” asks Dear… @COLLMCCOLGAN

General Secretary Jeremy Dear’s parents are at the #nujdm for the first time. @LARENMELIAW
Annual DM

Should #nujdm be every year? Speakers in the NO queue outnumber YES by three to one. @WHEALIE

Just been handed a flyer for the 60+ meeting. I need a new moisturiser. @GRIFFINKATE

Standing Orders Committee? Doesn’t sound like many of them can stand – they have been struck by illness and inury. @WHEALIE
In it together?

Jeremy Dear: “If we needed more proof that George Osbourne’s lie that ‘we are all in it together’ then today is the day.” @MISSBROOKS7

“We have marched together, now we must be prepared to strike together too” – Jeremy Dear, General Secretary @COLLMCCOLGAN
BBC cuts

Dear: “Let the BBC hear this well – we will not stand idly by while you wreck services and force skilled staff out of their jobs.” @WHEALIE

Dear: “They want to turn the open Internet into a closed, private toll road”. It’s not even a footpath here @WHEALIE

#nujdm standing ovation for Jeremy Dear’s speech @MISSBROOKS

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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Uncategorized


On this blog Dominic Simpson will be covering the National Union of Journalists’ delegate conference in Southport on April 7th-10th 2011 and related events. His more general blog – which focuses on music, art and general musings about life in the British capital – can be viewed at

For more on the author, see the ‘About’ page.

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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Uncategorized